India and China gear up for trade talks with a pharma focus

Beijing and New Delhi plan ministerial-level trade discussions to tackle pharmaceutical and four other major issues involving services and products that India can supply to China, according to an India official.

The official said India's tourism and pharmaceutical sectors are the best cards India can play in trade talks that also would cover agricultural products, information technology and textiles.

The Indian Express cited a Ministry of Commerce and Industry official as saying a joint working group was planned with China to work out a plan that would enable India industries to sell more products and services in the country.

China supplies most of India's active pharmaceutical ingredients, but lacks its own production brand for generic drugs, offering a large export market for India's versions of off-patent drugs.

The newspaper said a study commissioned by a bank three years ago considered China to be far behind India in the pharmaceutical sector, citing the former's lack of management skills due to its "differentiated policy regime." It noted that China had no line of drugs with U.S. FDA certification.

India's trade deficit with China stood at $36.2 billion the previous fiscal year, the newspaper said.

- here's the story from Indian Express